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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76125 Find in a Library
Title: Enforcement of Penal Law by the Police
Journal: International Criminal Police Review  Issue:341  Dated:(October 1980)  Pages:218-230
Author(s): H Souchon
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 13
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: France
Annotation: Labeling theory principles are compared with general criminological principles and French criminology in particular in order to determine if labeling theory is valid for French police work.
Abstract: The French police have the main tasks of crime prevention and crime investigation. The police operate as a social institution for appeal and arbitration. They are the principal witnesses of social malfunctioning and, through complaints from the public, they receive requests for help and redress and filter the vast amount of information they acquire. They have two references for this task: the penal code for actual offenses and the code of penal procedure for the recording and presentation of the various elements of their investigations. Testing the labeling theory by studying the French system of applying penal law requires the analysis of two phenomena: (1) the kind of social relations that govern contemporary social groups and the extrainstitutional, periinstitutional, and preinstitutional methods of control which operate before or in tandem with police intervention; and (2) the readiness of the police to respond to requests from these social groups and the dual police role of juridico-ideological control and regulation. By emphasizing methods of seeking help from the police, the variety of nonpenal social controls, and the connection between the characteristic relations of a social group and the police, the complexity of the dynamics of social behavior and the factors that influence it are seen to resist explanation by the labeling model, which focuses upon how formal systems influence behavior. Footnotes and 25 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Criminology; France; Labeling theory; Police community relations; Police crime-prevention; Social control theory; Social organization
Note: Paper submitted to the 18th French Congress of Criminology, Aix-en-Provence, France, October 18-20, 1979
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